Tracking Scholarly Impact on the Social Web: An #Altmetrics Workshop

New ways of getting your work noticed via the web has been a very frequent topic of our posts here. We’ve written about raising your online visibility, making your work more discoverable, and many other aspects of getting your work noticed online. That’s why it makes me very happy to announce that a workshop is being convened to discuss these very topics. At the 3rd International Conference on Web Science (14-15 June), a workshop on tracking scholarly impact on the social web has been organized. Read the post for more details.
Here’s how the organizers describe the session:

The increasing quantity and velocity of scientific output is presenting scholars with a deluge of data. There is growing concern that scholarly output may be swamping traditional mechanisms for both pre-publication filtering (e.g peer review) and post-publication impact filtering (e.g. the Journal Impact Factor).

Increasing scholarly use of Web2.0 tools like CiteULike, Mendeley, Twitter, and blog-style article commenting presents an opportunity to create new filters. Metrics based on a diverse set of social sources could yield broader, richer, and more timely assessments of current and potential scholarly impact. Realizing this, many authors have begun to call for investigation of these “altmetrics.” (see for a bibliography and more details).

Despite the growing speculation and early exploratory investigation into the value of altmetrics, however, there remains little concrete, objective research into the properties of these metrics: their validity, their potential value and flaws, and their relationship to established measures. Nor has there been any large umbrella to bring these multiple perspectives together. The altmetrics 11 workshop aims to encourage both these. Submissions are invited from a variety of areas:

  • New metrics based on social media
  • Tracking science communication on the Web
  • Relation between traditional metrics and altmetrics
  • Peer-review and altmetrics
  • Tools for gathering, analyzing, disseminating altmetrics


Mike Thelwall, University of Wolverhampton: “Evaluating online evidence of research impact”


Important Dates

March 31, 2011 2-page abstracts due
April 14, 2011 Acceptance and abstract publication
April 14, 2011 – June 14, 2011 Open pre-workshop discussion
June 14 – June 15, 2011 Workshop at WebSci 11

Invitations for post-workshop proceedings will be announced.

To find out more and to register, visit the Web Science conference site.

2 thoughts on “Tracking Scholarly Impact on the Social Web: An #Altmetrics Workshop

  1. I was wondering whether more web savvy authors will get most of the exposure if social web metrics are considered for assessing scholarly articles. This will be no way different from self-cites as described for impact factor. ( When authors with several thousand twitter and facebook followers post their articles, obviously they are going to be more visible. On the other hand, there is large proportion of scientists ignorant of social web. So it may not be a level playing field.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Roger. You’re right that authors who have cultivated a network of friends and colleagues online might get more online exposure for their work than someone who doesn’t interact with folks online. Similarly, someone who goes to conferences and presents posters gets more exposure than someone who stays in the lab and doesn’t travel. I think online exposure, though giving an advantage to someone who’s cultivated a following, is more democratic than the current system which favors those who sit on editorial and grant review boards.

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